Sunday, July 18, 2010

Vertigo, Sharks and Tabbouleh


My dad is learning how to fly.

...An aeroplane, of course. Last week he said to me that it will be great when he get's his pilot licence because he can, wait for it, "take me on scenic flights above the ocean!".....Are you kidding me?

I have two great fears in life - heights and deep ocean water. And for that reason, this aeroplane trip will never happen. Sorry Dad. I'm sure it would have been great and everything but I can guarantee you I will spend the whole flight with my eyes closed, clutching your arm so tight you may not even be able to fly the plane. We may crash. It would never end well for us both.

While I was in Thailand in January I semi-conquered my fear of deep seas. After a failed snorkelling attempt in Vietnam that involved a lot of water retention and scratches on Tom's arm, I got to Thailand and was determined to get in the water... and stay in. I forced my lovely friend Steph to hold my hand as we jumped off the rocking boat into the dark water. I forced her to hold it as we swam a few metres from the boat. I forced her to stay nex to me as I could hear the faint drum of oncoming shark music in my head (you know the one). I clutched Steph tighter. My throat constricted and I started manically laughing in terror. People who were gaily snorkelling around me stopped and stared at the commotion.

I floated and waited for the shark to lurk up behind us....

Shockingly, nothing ate me. Just lucky, I guess....In the end I calmed down and had an awesome time swimming around amongst the fishes and coral. Though not as much fun as Bridget who actually CHASED AFTER A SHARK (what a freak).

Which brings me to my next tummy wrencher - Today I semi-conquered my fear of heights by going rockclimbing. And by going rockclimbing I mean slowly crawling my way up the easiest green coloured runs on the walls, constantly looking back down to the ground for re-assurance. A girl of about 12 scuttled up the wall next to me, not forgetting to pause and giggle at my shaking arms.

However, I have managed to demolish my fears without facing premature death. Next I'll be climbing off cliff-faces, just you wait...

Tonight, to celebrate (just because I can always find a reason to celebrate with food), I made my favourite snazzy tabbouleh, which is only snazzy because it features posh pistachios and lush pomegranate seeds.

I've never fully understood why people buy tabbouleh from supermarkets when it's so insanely easy and cheap to make at home. And what's more you can muck around and chuck in extra goodies to spice things up a little.
No bulgur? Use quinoa, whole buckwheat or cous cous. Wanna be extra healthy? Add some crunchy pumpkin seeds or pepitas. And experiment with dressings - I added the leftover pomegranate juice to a traditional lemon/olive oil mixture for a change.

Anywho, I think the point I'm trying to make here is to try different things (foods and experiences) even if they intimidate you, or you may get eaten in the proccess.


Pomegranate, Pistachio and Green Olive Tabbouleh

2 cups roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 pomegranate
1/2 cup lightly toasted unshelled, unsalted pistachios
a few sprigs of fresh mint, chopped finely
1 lemon
1/2 cup burghul
about 20 sicilian green olives, roughly chopped
3 spring onions, sliced thinly
2 tablespoons olive oil

Boil some water and, in a bowl, completely cover the burghul. Leave to soften for 5 minutes, and drain when the wheat is cooked through.
To de-seed the pomegranate - before cutting in half, get a rolling pin or something of the sort and bang on the fruit quite forcefully a few times. This action loosens the seeds inside so when you cut the pomegranate open the seeds can be shaken out easily (be careful though, pomegranate juice is bright red!). Reserve some of the juice in a dish to combine with lemon juice, olive oil and salt to make an easy dressing.

In a bowl add the chopped parsley, mint, olives, pomegranate seeds, toasted pistachios, burghul and spring onions. Pour over the dressing right before serving and enjoy.

I had this salad with garlic lemon roasted chicken and a side of hommous, but it's just as good eaten on it's own...

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